Beginning of the Battlegrounds

With the next patch after the honor system came battlegrounds: Warsong Gulch, 10 vs 10 Capture the Flag, and Alterac Valley, 40 vs 40 with the ultimate objective of killing the enemy general (and plenty of side quests along the way).

Coming from FPS games, particularly Unreal Tournament, Warsong Gulch was great fun. When you could get into it… Alterac Valley, I couldn’t tell you. There were a few flaws with battlegrounds to start with.

The main problem was faction imbalance. With the Alliance outnumbering the Horde by about 3-1, it could take an Alliance player a long time sitting in a queue before they could get into an instance of Warsong Gulch; 30 minute queues were common, even at busy times. Alterac Valley, requiring many more players and taking much longer, I got into once, after about an hour and a half in a queue, and promptly had to leave. The battleground entrances were stuck out in the middle of nowhere, so there wasn’t much for a level 60 to do while waiting, apart from maybe a bit of grinding.

After the first week of novelty had worn off, queues were longer still, 45-60 minutes for Warsong Gulch, and nobody even bothered trying Alterac Valley. There was also the rise of the dreaded “premades“, groups of 10, often in the same guild, who’d join en masse, and have the gall to use tactics, organisation, communication and everything else that was anathema to the PUG. After waiting in a queue for an hour, there was nothing quite so dispiriting as to be ripped apart in a couple of minutes by well drilled opponents. Not being a raider, or having the *huge* amount of time needed to get to the high PvP ranks with rare/epic rewards, my gear was getting more and more outclassed. From a promising start, the gloss had come off battlefields, and I didn’t really miss them when I let my subscription lapse.